The war on bamboo continues. We spend time on it every single day. Just walking around the bamboo patch snapping off new shoots. I've heard that May is peak growth season, and I hope it's true, because I don't think we could handle more.
For most of April, what came up were big shoots. Easy to find, easy to snap off, and didn't grow back where we cut them. Starting a couple of weeks ago, clusters of tiny skinny shoots are appearing everywhere. They pop up from exposed roots, from shoots we broke off before, everywhere. All over the place. The little ones sprout leaves immediately, which is bad because the goal is to prevent the bamboo from getting any sunlight. They're also, bizarrely, harder to break off than the big stalks. I have a sore spot covered with tiny cuts on my thumb and forefinger from those damned bamboo shoots. I guess I should use pruners. But I tend to step into the bamboo patch whenever I have a few minutes, like coming home from work or an errand or whatever, and I don't want to stop and go get the pruners.
You can sort of see what we're dealing with in this photo:
Little green shoots sprouting up among the ponji sticks. On the left edge of the photo is a whole cluster of shoots growing out of a couple we snapped off before.
Then again, no one said getting rid of bamboo would be easy. I've settled into a routine: a few minutes on the bamboo every day, and a long session -- an hour or so -- twice a week. Georg also works on the daily bamboo check, and he's been great about filling the truck with cut bamboo 2-3 times a week so I can go to the dump whenever I have time. We're slowly but surely getting rid of the mountain of bamboo, which feels great. In the past week he's also started digging up bamboo roots, which is crazy hard work in the concrete-like soil back there. (Really, it's a mixture of sand, clay and gravel.) Between the two of us we're staying on top of it. For now!
Here's a more pleasant photo: my favorite rose! It's Crepuscule, which I think means "sunset" in French? Anyway, I planted it right by the house because I love the orangey color. I'm thrilled to see how big it's getting. When I first planted the climbing roses I heard a saying: "First year, they sleep. Second year, they creep. Third year, they leap!" It seems to be true. I need to build a support for it so it isn't just dangling over the fence there. I want to train it to grow along the wall of the house and over the window.
In other garden news, well the front looks like hell, because bamboo has taken up all the time I would normally have spend weeding, and then some. The vegetable garden is getting a good start. We have sugar snaps, radishes, eggplant, poblanos, and tomatoes doing well. And spinach which was started too late, but who knows, we might get something from it. The squashes and pumpkins I planted in containers in the bamboo patch are taking off, with the melons not far behind. The giant alliums (or would that be giant allii?) I planted last fall bloomed and look gorgeous. I want to plant them on either side of the path up to the shed, half of which is currently under the mountain of bamboo. Well, this fall will be the time to move them and by then we'll have the bamboo cleared.